Effectiveness of continuum of care - Linking pre-pregnancy care and pregnancy care to improve neonatal and perinatal mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kimiyo Kikuchi, Sumiyo Okawa, Collins O.F. Zamawe, Akira Shibanuma, Keiko Nanishi, Azusa Iwamoto, Yu Mon Saw, Masamine Jimba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In an era of Sustainable Development Goals, maternal, newborn, and child health still require improvement. Continuum of care is considered key to improving the health status of these populations. The continuum of care is a series of care strategies starting from prepregnancy to motherhood-childhood. The effectiveness of such linkage between the pregnancy, birth, and postnatal periods has been demonstrated. However, almost no study has assessed the impact of linkage that starts from pre-pregnancy to pregnancy care on maternal and child health. The present study attempts to fill this gap by assessing the effectiveness of the care linkage between pre-pregnancy and pregnancy care for reducing neonatal, perinatal, and maternal mortality in low- and middle-income countries. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials in low- and middle-income countries. The outcome variables were neonatal, perinatal, and maternal mortality. We searched databases such as PubMed/Medline, POPLINE, EBSCO/CINAHL, and ISI Web of Science for the period 2000-2014, using broad search terms (e.g., pre-pregnancy OR adolescent OR mother), combined with search terms specific for interventions, (e.g., family planning OR contraception OR spacing). From the 1,325 retrieved articles, five studies were finally analyzed. The meta-analysis showed that interventions linking pre-pregnancy and pregnancy care effectively reduced neonatal mortality (risk ratio [RR]: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-0.89, I2 = 62%) and perinatal mortality (RR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.75-0.94, I2 = 73%), but did not show an effect on maternal mortality. Neonatal and perinatal mortality could be reduced by linking prepregnancy and pregnancy care. This linkage of pre-pregnancy and pregnancy cares is an essential component of continuum of care to improve newborn health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0164965
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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